On Offspring, breast milk and the end of an era
I used to work for a parenting magazine. The upshot this is that I know a lot about babies for someone who’s never actually owned one. I just thought I would mention this in advance before I start ‘expressing’ opinions about breast pumps. All good? Good.
I once wrote an advertorial about a breast pump in which I said “breast pumps can be a bit intimidating”. My editor made me take that out because she said it wasn’t true. Yeah, like a hands-free breast pump wouldn’t scare the heebie jeebies out of anyone. Breast pumps are terrifying. They’re also one of the myriad of baby or body-related things that you’re not really meant to know about until you actually have a baby. While working at the magazine, I started to find all this a bit odd. Surely, dealing with the fact that you just made a human for the first time is weird enough without also having to come to terms with a million parenting facts that no one thought it was necessary to mention until now.
This is quite a long winded way of saying that I’m a little sad that Offspring ended last night. I’ve loved Offspring from the beginning. I’m a sucker for a good bit of romantic tension and I won’t say no to looking at attractive people. Considering Offspring is basically wall-to-wall sex and sexy, it ticked a lot of boxes. But thanks to working at the magazine, I came to appreciate other aspects of the show – despite the soapy exterior, there’s some truths lurking under the surface.
At the beginning of the latest season, Nina spent an entire scene expressing milk. She was just sitting at her desk, chatting to Clegg while absolutely no one mentioned it. Seeing her character just casually pumping milk out of her boobs while having a conversation like it’s no big thing was pretty amazing.
Meanwhile, amongst the constant barrage of Proudman family drama there were people having babies on the show left right and centre. These moments were like perspective breaks in the larger drama that was Offspring. In spite of everything that happens, babies still get born. The babies born on Offspring rarely looked like glossy Baby Borns either. They came out all goopy and swished and with stuff hanging off them.
Offspring wasn’t a perfect show. They still spent a lot of time at the pub for people with young children, and the person babysitting all the children had sex while on duty (don’t worry guys, the babies were totally asleep). It didn’t do everything but the things it did, it did well. And it was nice to see a show like Offspring being made right here for once.
In my TV Studies class at uni once, my teacher asked everyone about how much Australian TV they consume. A bunch of people turned up their noses at the very thought. One person was all “Australian TV just isn’t as good, you know?” This is basically like someone saying “Oh, but toads just aren’t as green as frogs, you know?” That person clearly has no real interest in, or knowledge about, toads. Basically, Australian TV is actually great is what I’m saying.
For the last few years Offspring has been a shining example of this. It’s glossy, well produced and well written. No, it’s not gritty or particularly ground breaking, but it’s always been solid and lovable. Some days (usually Wednesday in my experience) that’s all you need TV to be.
It looks like this will be the last season of Offspring (largely because of some crazy tax rules that punish Australian TV for being successful?). In lots of ways, I’m glad they’re finished up while they’re ahead but it’ll also leave a pretty big hole in my TV reviewing schedule.